Robert A. Pape

Founding Director, Chicago Project on Security and Threats; Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

Robert A. Pape is the founding director of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats and a professor of political science at the University of Chicago. Specializing in international security affairs, he is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on strategic air power and terrorism studies. His research efforts have also led him to study the effectiveness of economic sanctions, humanitarian intervention policy, U.S.-China relations, and U.S. grand strategy. His more than 30 years of experience in studying air power as a tool for coercion, which grew out of his dissertation project, has informed his opinions on U.S. action in Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. He has also advised major U.S. policymakers and served on the presidential campaigns of Representative Ron Paul and President Barack Obama.

Pape graduated from the University of Chicago with a PhD in political science in 1988. Pape also obtained a BA and an MA from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was Pennsylvania’s Harry S. Truman Scholar. Pape taught at the United States Air Force School of Advanced Airpower Studies and Dartmouth College before returning to the University of Chicago in 1999, where he is now tenured. Pape’s publications include Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It (Chicago 2010, with James Feldman); Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (Random House 2005); Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War (Cornell 1996), “Why Economic Sanctions Do Not Work,” (International Security 1997), “The Determinants of International Moral Action,” (International Organization 1999); “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” (American Political Science Review 2003); “Soft Balancing against the United States,” (International Security 2005), and “When Duty Calls: A Pragmatic Standard of Humanitarian Intervention,” (International Security 2012). His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.